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autoviva2010-03-18 11:01:28

Volvo “Carioca” celebrates 75th anniversary

Volvo “Carioca” celebrates 75th anniversary

In 2010 Volvo is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the PV36, better known as the Carioca. The model, with a design ahead of its time, marks an important chapter of Volvo’s history. The PV36 has been accused by many to be a copy of Chrysler’s Airflow, but the Swedish brand continues to ensure that it is false.

Inspired by the large airships and their shape, plus a number of early locomotives, airplanes and car prototypes, the PV36 arrived in the spring of 1935. The car was conceived exclsively by Örnberg, a headstrong and versatile engineer who came to Volvo in 1931 from the Hupp Motor Co in Detroit, makers of Hupmobile.

When it was launched many accused Volvo to have copied the Chrysler Airflow, a streamliner presented a year before. Volvo says that although it had some resemblances, such as the headlamps, the PV36 cannot be called a copycat. The differences can be found for example in the wheelbase as it is shorter than both the Hupmobile and the Chrysler. The PV36 also had a technical feature that overcame both models, as it used an independent front suspension - with the front wheels moving independently of each other during vertical movements – which improved handling.

The PV36 was powered by a six cylinder engine: the EC of 3.67 litres, with an 80hp output. It was placed in the front of the vehicle below the bonnet that featured a traditional Volvo radiator grille which followed the shape of the front rather than standing on its own like on other Volvos.

 The Volvo model received the designation PV36 to suggest a feeling that "the car of the future has arrived already today", meaning that 36 had already arrived in 1935. As for its nickname “Carioca” it can be assumed that it was a strategy to flirt with the Brazilian market – the citizens of Rio de Janeiro are called Cariocas – as Volvo had started to export to Brazil in 1933.

The PV36 was for sale until 1938 but the modern look together with its price of SEK 8,500 proved that the Volvo PV36 was ahead of its time by twenty years, as the brand’s customers wanted conventional styling in harmony with the times, small visual changes.

Straight 6
224 cu in
Top Speed
3, Manual
Maximum power
80 hp @ 3300 rpm
Fuel consumption (combined)
annual ownership cost




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